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High Performance

Wireless Networks:
Delivering Seamless, Everywhere Connectivity with Firetides AutoMeshTM

Wireless Mesh
Networking
Solutions for
Todays
Challenging
Market

Evolving Network Demands


Network administrators, and those responsible for building the infrastructures required to
support todays demanding communications needs, are under increasing pressure to maintain
and scale their networks. Many trends are impacting this requirement. However, none are
more evident than the fact that people and businesses want to access human assets, data and
intelligence wherever they may beinside or outsideregardless of their physical proximity
to the network. Seamless connectivity is no longer a matter of ensuring reliable connectivity
for the local area network. The network must extend communications outside and reach
coverage areas that are often many miles away.
In addition to network mobility requirements, support for the growing number of video
applications has IT administrators scrambling to re-assess how they will meet the bandwidth
and capacity demands these applications command. The increase in bandwidth to support
a broad range of video applications such as video surveillance and monitoring, video offload,
and content downloads to smart phones, tablets, and other devices is out-pacing the network
operators ability to deliver the needed bandwidth. This bandwidth crunch is especially
evident in transportation, government, and industrial organizations where public safety, crime
deterrence, and monitoring of capital assets are gaining widespread attention.

Todays True Communications EnvironmentLimitations


and Opportunities
Todays communications operators have the difficult task of building new networks and
expanding existing networks that support true mobility and can also deliver real-time video
applications whether those applications reside indoors or outdoors. Perhaps a more detailed
explanation of such a network may be warranted. As examples, one mobile network might
supply smart-phone usage to metro-train passengers and another network might allow
a fireman to download a building floor-plan from a device on a speeding fire truck en-route
to a three-alarm fire. The delivery of high-definition video streaming is another area where
requirements may vary considerably from one network to another. Passenger buses may want
to display video messages on a static viewing screen for their riders while other networks
want to provide transportation dispatchers with analytics such as bus speeds and individual fleet
locations. Lastly, a network that allows its users to access its data, video, and voice assets
regardless of their locations represents a true indoor-to-outdoor communications network.
These examples illustrate the underlying demands being placed upon networks today. Not
only are operators contending with increased range, throughput and capacity needs, they are
also faced with the requirements to reduce costs and increase service revenues while
enhancing productivity and efficiencies for the organizations they serve. The majority of todays
networks are currently not fully able to support mobility, real-time video and a seamless
indoor-to-outdoor experience.
As a result, converged networks are larger and far more complex than ever before and represent
a mixed bag of fiber and wireless infrastructures. Although the industry offers network
infrastructure options from which administrators can choose, the task of evaluating each to fully
understand the technical differentiations can be daunting.
The hard reality is that as pervasive and reliable as they are, wired fiber networks represent
many challenges and, by themselves, fall short to support the network demands described
above. They inherently have high CAPEX, long build-out times, and are not able to support
applications that demand mobility. IT management must be able to implement network solutions
that leverage their existing wired infrastructure investments yet meet the new indoor-to-outdoor
and mobile-network requirements.

AutoMesh Networking Technology

A quick look at Point-to-Point (PTP) and Point-to-Multipoint (PMP) wireless solutions in the
market will demonstrate that, although these products may provide sufficient connectivity
between fixed locations, they almost always lack the scalability, reliability, end-to-end
security, and network management features critical for todays converged data, voice and
video traffic. Fundamentally, PTP and PMP are products that see networks as links not
as a network. Therein lies a major point of difference between these solutions and Firetides
mesh infrastructure technology. There is a real need for a wireless technology that offers the
reliability, scalability, and security of fiber, yet has the flexibility and mobility offered by wireless.

Introducing Firetides AutoMesh, True Market Differentiation


Firetide is a market leader in the delivery of high-performance, private wireless broadband solutions
that are both reliable and secure. At the heart of all of Firetide products and solutions is their
industry-leading technologyAutoMeshwhich was built from the ground up specifically for video
and mobility, the key cornerstones for todays converged networks. Backed by more than 10 years
of innovation and 19 patents to date, the technological advancements in AutoMesh coupled with
Firetides deep understanding of customer requirements and application enablement has lead to
the implementation of over 10,000 field deployments across the globe. Early on, Firetide understood
that they had to have an innate understanding and an in-depth knowledge of the applications they
would be supporting if they were going to develop a mesh technology that would deliver carriergrade performance across the entire network.

HotView Pro

NETWORK MANAGEMENT

SOFTWARE PLATFORM

AUTOMESH L2/L3 SERVICES

Mobility

AutoMesh
HotPort
Wireless
Infrastructure
7000 Series
& 5020 Edge

FMC 2000
Mobility
Controller

End-to-End
QoS

Wireless
Access Points
5100 / 5200
& 4000

Reliable
Multicast

VLAN

Ethernet
Direct

Load
Balancing

Wireless
Bonding

Self
Healing

FMRP
Routing

Hand-off
Manager

Radio
Interference/
Resource
Management

Multi-hop
Optimizer

HotPoint

AUTOMESH PROTOCOLS

HARDWARE

Patented mesh software


protocols and services that
form the foundation for Firetide
wireless infrastructure solutions.

End-to-End
Security

The AutoMesh software platform resides in every product Firetide brings to market including
its Wireless Infrastructure Series and Access Points, as well as its Mobility Controller and
Network Management system.
Mesh technology is less costly, more convenient, and easier to deploy than your wired or fixed
wireless network. Wireless mesh technology can be a substitute for wired systems, but can also
complement wired systems by providing the optimal wireless solution for augmenting and expanding
to new locations that are not well suited for wired systems. High CAPEX, poor mobility support
and the inability to access tough-to-reach environments and challenging terrain are the primary
reasons administrators seek alternative connectivity systems. In comparison to other wireless systems,
AutoMesh uniquely brings these five distinct technological advantages referred to as PRIME.

Performance
& Scalability

End-to-End
Security

Resilience

AutoMeshTM

Mobility

AutoMesh Networking Technology

Integration
Simplicity

Performance and Scalability In a mobile network, performance and scalability are defined
by the ease at which nodes can be added or removed and the assurance that, as more nodes
are added, network throughput and quality of service will not degrade. Self-managing capabilities
include self-healing, self-configuring/reconfiguring, and self-tuning, all of which play a role in
keeping traffic moving dynamically along an optimal path. Firetides Mesh Routing Protocol (FMRP),
multi-hop optimization and ground-up modifications made to the wireless Mobility Access
Controller (MAC) collectively ensure that the loss of a single end-point will never disrupt the network.
As a result, Firetide can deliver up to 150 Mbps throughput with their single-radio, and up
to 300 Mbps with their dual-radio platform while maintaining less than 1 ms latency per hop.
Firetide AutoMeshs patented flow-based routing streamlines packet processing and
transmission, eliminating the need for deep packet inspection between hops. Consequently,
there is no need to inspect the IP address and route it at every hop. This unique feature allows
up to 15 hops to be introduced to the mesh network effortlessly without any packet drop
or throughput degradation. This capability gives administrators confidence that bandwidth
intensive applications like high-definition video can be easily transmitted without any
latency over large scalable networks.
The two illustrations below show the positive impact that Firetides Mesh Routing Protocol
has on achievable data rates and latency minimization as hop numbers scale.
Scaling Your Network With 5x Less Fiber

Throughput vs Hops

Latency vs Hops

200

160

UDP
Throughput 150
in Mbps

140
End-to-End
Latency 120
in ms
100

100

80
60
40

50

20
0

0
1

Number of Wireless Hops

10

15

Number of Wireless Hops

Firetide Multi Hop Optimizer

FMRP Routing

PTMP Products

Competitve Routing

WiFi AP based Mesh

Resiliency Firetides Mesh Routing Protocol (FMRP) is the force behind AutoMeshs
self-healing technology. It provides a dynamic on-demand routing of the packets based
on the network paths available. This results in an enhanced learn-as-you-go mode of route
discovery for the packets being transmitted. The moment a link or path is not available for
any reason, the packets are immediately re-routed through the next best available path,
effectively healing the network from any down-time. AutoMesh is programmed to observe
parameters that effect network performance. The ideal mix of these observed statistics
and on-demand routing maintains the optimum level of traffic through the radio links, therefore
keeping a smooth and fast traffic flow. This results in zero network down-time and
peace of mind.
Redundancy is essentially built into the fabric with a mesh design. The network can lose
one or more nodes without losing the ability to send traffic. In outdoor wireless networks,
where conditions are often changing, this inherent redundancy is essential.

AutoMesh Networking Technology

Zero Downtime Carrier-Grade Reliability


Firetide
7020

Firetide
7020
Mesh Wireless
Traffic Re-routed
0 Downtime

Self-healing via
redundant links for
critical applications.

Control
Room A

FIBER BREAK
Optical Fiber

Control
Room B

In addition, using the Ethernet Direct feature you can use fiber for some of the links within
the mesh, combining fiber and wireless in a single mesh network. This design delivers a higher
level of resilience and availability, with redundancy across transmission methods.
The strength and resiliency of the Firetide mesh is consistent regardless of the topology,
architecture, and the environmental conditions that exist. Its seamless failover capabilities are
immediately apparent even when deployed in challenging terrain, non line-of-sight locations,
and territories typically associated with higher levels of RF interference. Operators can
confidently run all of their critical applications over the Firetide mesh network, knowing they
will maintain five-nines availability.
Integration Simplicity Firetide recognizes that customers need investment protection and
depend on manufacturers to ensure smooth integration and performance continuity with
existing wired and wireless infrastructures. By design, the AutoMesh network is architected
to behave like a Layer 2 Ethernet switch. This means the entire mesh network can be visualized
as a collection of Ethernet ports, and the entire mesh can be managed by one IP versus one
IP per node. This offers real simplicity when integrating a seamless indoor/outdoor operation.
FMRP encapsulation provides the additional benefit of enabling VLAN, end-to-end policy
management, and QoS transparency which equates to a more consistent user experience
and increased productivity. Streamlined network deployments and centralized network
management help to lower network maintenance costs too.
No Hassle, IT Management

Simplicity of wired Ethernet


carried over to wireless mesh.

AutoMesh Networking Technology

Mobility There is a common misconception that infrastructure mobility concerns only


the client/access side, when in reality there is a significant difference between mobile devices
and a mobile network. Firetides Mobile Mesh solution delivers the infrastructure to allow
an entire network to be mobile, not just the devices.
A mobile node travels across a network infrastructure of static mesh nodes which essentially
form the mobile mesh. It associates with the static nodes in these meshes to communicate
with clients connected to any part of the static meshes. This is linear mobility.
Linear mobility is a patented Firetide solution. It is applicable whenever a mobile unit moves
along a fixed path which may span large distances. Firetides patented linear mobility has
two partsa dual-radio mobile node which allows you to scan for a better signal while you are
attached without any throughput degradation, and a make-before-break connection model
to allow for seamless hand over with zero packet loss even when data traffic flows at speeds
of 100 Mbps. This capability is paramount when you consider the latency-prone traffic that
traverses a mobile network infrastructure.
As examples, Firetides 3rd Generation mobility solution supports real-time, streaming HD-video
at speeds up to 100 mph and can also offload several gigabits of data in less than a minute
in depot. The benefits and advantages of enabling a mobility-based network infrastructure are
huge and have collectively proven to reduce operating expenses, increase productivity, improve
efficiencies, and generate new sources of revenue.
100 Mbps Network Connectivity @100 mph

120
100
80

UDP
Throughput (Mbps)

60
40
Packet loss can have major
safety implications for train
operators in todays modern
rail environment.

Packet Loss

20
0
-20

Station
1

Pole
1

Pole
2

Pole
3

Pole
4

Station
2

Pole
5

End-to-End Security To ensure transmission confidentiality and privacy of all data, voice, and
video traffic across the entire network, Firetides AutoMesh platform extends enterprise security in
many ways. First and foremost, Firetide utilizes the highest available, 256-bit key size AES encryption
coupled with end-to-end packet transmission. Because Firetide mesh eliminates the need to open
up packets in Layer 3 between hops, the potential for sniffing data packets over a hop is eliminated,
and transmissions are faster and more secure. Many comparable mesh solutions decrypt data
packets at every hop which creates a point of vulnerability and slows down the process.

AutoMesh Networking Technology

Optimizing Secure Data Transmission

Other
Solutions
Decryption Required at Every Hop

Firetides security provides


operators with efficiency
enhancements and vulnerability
management which only increase
in significance as networks scale
in size and complexity.

Firetide
Solution
End-to-End Encryption

To communicate between mesh nodes, Firetide uses proprietary FMRP protocols which
are not susceptible to other Wi-Fi-enabled devices. As a result, any device such as a laptop,
smart phone, or tabletother than a Firetide mesh nodecannot connect or communicate
directly to the mesh network. Additionally, Firetide provides digitally-signed firmware files
to stop any unauthorized firmware installation on nodes and VLAN-based access control lists
to provide access control for all packets that are routed into or out of a VLAN.
Firetide takes security seriously employing a MAC-based access control list and an option
Firetide
to block the ports completely on a need-basis. Although no unauthorized device can access
Solution
the mesh network directly, this high security feature can be enabled to detect any rogue node
that is attempting to access the mesh
network.
In addition, the Firetide network management
End-to-End
Encryption
system communicates and shares network configuration information only with nodes having
authorized Firetide-issued certificates. This blocks any rogue node that is attempting to spoof
as a mesh node and join the network.

Otheris FIPS 140-2 compliant which validates its high level of security required
Lastly, Firetide
Solutions
by the
U.S. Department of Defense.
Decryption Required at Every Hop

AutoMesh Networking Technology

Summary
Wireless mesh technology is quickly becoming the new communications standard as
businesses and organizations look to expand the reach and functionality of their network.
Network administrators want to deploy high-performance technology that is scalable,
resilient, mobile, secure and easy to integrate. They also want a technology partner with
deep expertise in supporting video and mobility and who can assist them to navigate
the complexities of the ever-changing regulatory, safety and economic trends that impact
the planning, delivery and implementation of their networks.
Today, Firetide is leading the way for the transformation of private wireless broadband
networks. Customers around the globe are confidently deploying AutoMesh-based
solutions to extend their reach and do more with their network. Contact Firetide
and schedule your free Get PRIMEd Consultation. This comprehensive analysis will
assess your current network infrastructure and demonstrate the advantages AutoMesh
PRIME can bring to your network communications. Email us at sales@firetide.com,
visit us on our website at www.firetide.com, or call us at 408-399-7771 for more details.

White Paper

Firetide Inc.
2105 South Bascom Avenue
Suite 220
Campbell, CA 95008

sales@firetide.com
www.firetide.com
1-408-399-7771

2014 Firetide Inc. Firetide, HotPort and HotPoint are registered trademarks of Firetide Inc. AutoMesh and HotView Pro are trademarks of Firetide Inc. All other company and product
are the trademarks of their respective owners.
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